From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 13, 2019): W. Visayas’ RTF-ELCAC fully operational in 2020 (By Gail Momblan)
PEACE COUNCIL MEETING. The Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) in Western Visayas gather for a meeting at Casa Real de Iloilo on Thursday (Dec. 12, 2019). It was the council's first meeting attended by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu as the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security. (Photo courtesy of DENR Western Visayas)
ILOILO CITY -- The Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) in Western Visayas said the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) will be in full swing next year.
The newly-appointed RPOC members chaired by Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, Jr. gathered for their first meeting on Thursday at Casa Real de Iloilo here.
The meeting was attended by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu as the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS).
Ariel Iglesia, Department of the Interior and Local Government in Western Visayas (DILG 6) regional director, said in a phone interview Friday that the RTF-ELCAC in the region will be fully operational in January 2020.
He said Cimatu stressed to the RPOC the current thrust of the government against the local armed conflict.
“The clusters (of the RTF-ELCAC) are already complete but not fully operational. The clusters are conducting efforts and hopefully next year, it will be in full swing,” Iglesia said.
The clusters include the local government empowerment, international engagement, legal cooperation, strategic communication, basic services, livelihood and poverty alleviation, and infrastructure and resources management.
The region has also put in place clusters such as peace and development, situational awareness and knowledge management, localized peace and engagement, Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program, and sectoral unification capacity living and empowerment.
He said all the provinces in the region have organized their respective Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC).
“On the level of municipalities, it is still not complete but our efforts are ongoing,” he said.
Aside from the thrust against insurgency, Iglesia said the RPOC is also tasked to oversee the situation of illegal drugs and the overall peace and order situation in Western Visayas.
The RPOC has set its regular meeting every Wednesday of the last month of the quarter.
“We will meet in March for the updating of accomplishments and plans,” he said.